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You never get a second chance at a first kiss…

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Fake Homecoming. Fake Boyfriend. Real feels.

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A terrific, twisting romantic thriller that will keep you guessing.

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Elisabeth Naughton | Getting a Bonus, Two Love Stories for Price of One!

Who isn’t look for a good deal? Especially in this day and age where the economy’s in the toilet and we’re all searching for ways to save a buck or two? I have always been a fan of great love stories. So it’s always a plus when those stories I love include not only a main romance but a secondary one as well. Two of my favorite contemporary books include secondary romances-Perfect, by Judith McNaught and Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Often times, when rereading old books (which I tend to do when I just want to relax), I skim over sections that aren’t related to the main plot. But I never skip the secondary love stories in these two books. And it’s a testament to these writers that their secondary characters have sucked me in as much as the main characters.

There will always be a debate among readers as to whether or not secondary romances have a place in romance novels or if they’re just "filler". Sometimes-I will admit-that’s what they feel like. A way for the author to stretch their page count. But if done right, a secondary romance is tightly interwoven into the main plot and adds to the main romance. It doesn’t detract. It adds substance and balance that may not be there otherwise. That’s not always easy to do. But you know when you’ve seen it done right, and you remember those authors who do it well.

In my upcoming release, STOLEN SEDUCTION (December 29, 2009, from LoveSpell), the third book in my Stolen Series, there is a secondary romance. I will say flat out that I didn’t plan this. When I plotted this book, I never imagined this secondary relationship would bloom within the pages. But it did, and I was left asking myself, "What should I do?" The secondary hero is a character who was instrumental in the first book and became instrumental in this one as well. He changes a lot from book one to book three, and the natural progression was to finally see some part of him redeemed. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do when I realized what was happening. Tone down this secondary romance, show an attraction and give them their own book? Or let their romance play out within the context of the main romance? In the end, I decided to see where it went. And the result was what RT BOOKReviews calls, "...…a number of intriguingly intertwined mysteries wrapped around a strong central romance and a charming secondary love story."

I was really happy the reviewer from RT mentioned the secondary love story in STOLEN SEDUCTION. Having never written one before, I was worried what reviewers would say. Would it detract from the main story? Would it be thought of as "filler"? *I* knew how influential these two secondary characters were to the main plot and how their burgeoning relationship changed them both for the better and impacted how and when the main characters uncovered the secrets they were seeking, but would others see that as well? I think it’s a question all writers face when contemplating secondary romances. In this book it worked. In the next book it might not. Finding that balance and keeping readers guessing (okay, and me too) is what I enjoy most about writing.

And seriously, who doesn’t love that whole two-for-one deal?

How about you? How do you feel about secondary romances? What was the last book you read that included a secondary romance that you loved?

One lucky commenter will get an autographed copy of the first book in the Stolen Series: STOLEN FURY. Simply answer the above question to be entered into the drawing.

A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, was a 2007 Golden Heart Finalist and has been heralded by Publisher's Weekly as "A rock-solid debut." When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit the author’s website at www.elisabethnaughton.com.




29 comments posted.

Re: Elisabeth Naughton | Getting a Bonus, Two Love Stories for Price of One!

Hi Elisabeth,
I enjoy secondary romances. My favorite is Lisa Kleypas' "Again the Magic." I love the secondary romances between the heroine's sister and the hero's friend.
(Jane Cheung 5:56am November 19, 2009)

Secondary romances are wonderful when they are so interwoven into the storyline that you could never imagine any other way.
(Joanne Reynolds 8:42am November 19, 2009)

I enjoy secondary romances. You get two HEAs. :)
(Crystal Broyles 10:13am November 19, 2009)

Hi Elizabeth, I loooooove secondary romances (2 for 1 deal, exactly !). SEP probably wrote some of my favorite secondary romances : Christie and Ethan Bonner, April and Jack Patriot, Mommy and Dady Bonner, Dexter and Torie Traveler... and I'm forgetting some others of course. Also I read Just one Of The Guys by Kristan Higgins over the week-end and there was a nice secondary romance about a couple separated because the husband cheated. Yes it was a very tricky story but she wrote it perfectly and I was very happy to see the couple reunited.
(Joeelle Jappissont 12:49pm November 19, 2009)

One of my fav books that had a secondary romance was Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy...and I don't think it distracted from the main love story at all...only made it a better read.

A more recent book that had a secondary romance was Highland Scandal by Julia London, but in this case I thought the secondary romance was the much better story, in fact I was disappointed in the main romance, and wanted more of the secondary.

All in all I don't think you can go wrong with a twofer as long as both stories are well told. Can't wait for Stolen Seduction!
(Carrie Divine 1:00pm November 19, 2009)

I really enjoy the secondary romances. They add to the story, more interesting.
(Gail Hurt 1:49pm November 19, 2009)

I enjoy reading stories with secoundary romance 2 or more hea in one story.
(Dawn Owens 2:00pm November 19, 2009)

Hi all,

Thanks for the great comments!

Jane - I love it when the secondary romance is a family member of one of the main characters.

Crystal - Yay for two HEAs!

Emmanuelle - Oh, I loved the Christie & Ethan Bonner secondary romance. That was a great one.

Carrie - I agree. I don't think you can go wrong so long as the secondary romance is interwoven into the main romance. I hope you enjoy STOLEN SEDUCTION!

Gail & Dawn - well said. Thanks for the comments!
(Elisabeth Naughton 2:24pm November 19, 2009)

Joanne - absolutely. I think that's what I love most about authors who write secondary love stories so well. You can't imagine the books without them!
(Elisabeth Naughton 2:24pm November 19, 2009)

I am sorry to say that it has been
awhile since read a true "romance"
book so nothing comes to mind to
share, last few years have been heavy
into thrillers, urban fantasies and
whatnot.. I can tell you though that I
agree wholeheartedly that within a
truly well written story line that a
2ndry romance can flow seamlessly in
with the rest of the plot and you would
miss it if not there to add to the
"spice" the author is going for....
(Jackie Burris 2:32pm November 19, 2009)

I noticed your latest book, that one of your settings is Miami. Are you a Florida author that I may have missed?
(Marcia DiStefano 3:30pm November 19, 2009)

I like secondary romances. Sometimes the secondary couple are even more interesting to me than the primary couple. This happened recently and I'm racking my brain trying to remember the title or author. (It'll come to me late tonight, I'm sure.) Sometimes when there's a secondary romance that's it, the author never goes anywhere with it past that book (usually it's been resolved in someway...marriage), but I love it when a great secondary couple get their own book.
(Anne Muller 3:45pm November 19, 2009)

There was a secondary love story in the book I recently finished. It's What I did For Love by Susan Eliazabeth Philips and it was great.

Tracey D
(Tracey Dent 4:51pm November 19, 2009)

Jackie - Love your comment about "spice". :)

Marcia - I actually live in the Pacific Northwest but love Florida and the Caribbean. (I think I must be a warm-weather girl at heart!)
(Elisabeth Naughton 5:22pm November 19, 2009)

Anne - Thanks for the comment! I agree, some secondary couples NEED their own book. The main characters in STOLEN SEDUCTION (Hailey & Shane) were a secondary couple in book one of my Stolen Series (STOLEN FURY). Originally I hadn't planned to write a book for them, but when I finished writing STOLEN FURY I said, "Yeah. You know what? These two NEED their own book." Luckily, my editor agreed. :)

Tracey - "What I Did For Love" is in my TBR pile. I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She's a master at the secondary love story.
(Elisabeth Naughton 5:25pm November 19, 2009)

Elisabeth: Thank you for your post. Like you, I think a secondary romance adds to rather than detracts from the primary one. At least if it's done right, when both relationships have considerable bearing on each other.

As a rule, if the primary romance works, the secondary romance works---and vice-versa. With this reader, anyhow. And if one fails . . . you get the idea.

Keep up the good work!
(Mary Anne Landers 6:50pm November 19, 2009)

I really like secondary romances and for some of the reasons already mentioned. If two couples can be happy why not!! It is good to see the secondary couple get a story of their own and/or shine in the primary book.
(Robyn Lee 6:57pm November 19, 2009)

Hi Mary Anne! Love your "rule".

And Robyn, thanks for the comment. Glad to hear others enjoy secondary romances so much.
(Elisabeth Naughton 7:20pm November 19, 2009)

congrat on your book and hope you have many more i would love to have it for my collection
(Desiree Reilly 8:31pm November 19, 2009)

Thanks so much, Desiree!
(Elisabeth Naughton 8:33pm November 19, 2009)

Way to go Lisa!
(Marjorie Carmony 9:10pm November 19, 2009)

I love secondary romance. The last book I read was Italian Groom Princess Bride. The original book The Royal Marriage Arrangement started it and I had to find out what happens to the other two characters.

I love it when the story interlink instead of leaving me stranded and wondering what will happened to these two character.
(Kai Wong 9:43pm November 19, 2009)

I don't mind Secondory Romance and some times there given there own story in the next book.I like when a lot is going on in a book and in a set of book it makes your fill like there your friend and family and you want evrybood to be happy in the end of the book.I can't renember wright now one of my books that had a secoundary romance but i think it was a Christine Feehan book.
(Stacey Smith 3:15am November 20, 2009)

I'd be really interested in giving your book a read. It sounds like something right up my alley!
(Melissa Cleaver 5:52pm November 20, 2009)

What a pretty lady!!! I like a good secondary romance as long as it doesn't overshadow the main characters. I can't remember the last book I read with a secondary romance in it.
(Lisa Glidewell 9:12pm November 20, 2009)

I'd rather have the book be a series with
couples, because I always feel the
secondary characters get the short shift.
(Sue Ahn 10:52pm November 20, 2009)

I enjoy secondary romances as long as they do not overshadow the main romance. The more the merrier...loL! The last book I can recall with 2 definate romances was one of Marliss Melton's SEAL books. I cannto rememeber the name off hand, bad me. I loved every minute of it!
(Pj Keitzman 12:18pm November 21, 2009)

Your book sounds like a great read!
(Brenda Rupp 3:27pm November 23, 2009)

I've never read a secondary romance
(Allison Gardner 9:17am November 25, 2009)

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